Dr. Alan Schlechter, author of “U Thrive: How to Succeed in College (And Life),” is also the professor of the most popular elective class at New York University called “The Science of Happiness.” He reveals a practical definition of happiness. Following is a transcript of the video.
The definition of happiness is really about 5 different buckets and you want to make sure you have something in every bucket.
The first bucket is positive emotions. Fear kept us alive for hundreds of thousands of years, but it’s positive emotions that connect us with other people. After positive emotions you have E, that’s engagement. Engagement is when you’re participating in an activity that fulfils you, that gratifies you. It’s when you’re using your strengths. So you have the P for positive emotions, the E, then you have relationships, R.
Relationships distinguish the happiest 10% of people. Right after relationships is meaning. Meaning, how do you define that? So meaning is what matters to you, it’s what makes sense to you and it’s the springboard for your purpose in life.
The last component of happiness that I’m going to give you is maybe the most controversial. It’s A for accomplishment or achievement. The idea that we all need to feel some sense of accomplishment in something in life. At work, at home, somewhere.
So you add these letters together, you get PERMA. P for positive emotions, E for engagement, R for relationships, M for meaning, A for accomplishment. You’re always thinking about those 5 buckets. How are those 5 buckets doing? They may not get filled up every day, but overall in your life, with some stability, do you have a presence in each bucket.
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